AfricaAdapt Online discussion - Local seeds, GM seeds, food security, and climate change
Associated Organization: AfricaAdapt
Climate change and variability is a challenge to Africa’s food security, affecting both the quantity and quality of agricultural production.
Against this background, increasing voices are questioning whether local seeds, the yardstick of farmers' agro economic sovereignty and yet severely affected by the adverse effects of climate change, are still enough to secure food security amongst African households.
Join the discussions online: http://next.dgroups.org/fara-net/africa-adapt/africa-adapt-fr
Themes: Agriculture, fisheries and food security, Poverty and vulnerability
Countries: Algeria, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Comoros, Congo, Congo, DRC, Côte d'Ivoire, Djibouti, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mauritius, Mayotte, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Seychelles, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, South Sudan, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zambia, Zimbabwe
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Advocates of local seeds point out these seeds have certain hardiness and are of socio-cultural value for farmers. They also are a source of income and an indicator of food sovereignty, with the dual function of satisfying household food requirements and providing a stock of seeds for replanting.
In contrast, other voices are advocating for Genetically Modified (GM) seed, scientifically designed to withstand environmental hazards. However, GM seeds, long promoted at the international level and strongly encouraged in sub-Saharan Africa, has its limitations. According to advocates of local seeds, GM seeds are more water demanding and require large amounts of chemical fertilizers, pollute groundwater, weaken soils, degrade biodiversity and affect human health. Furthermore, they deem these products sterile and protected by intellectual property rights, so much so that farmers who use them will undoubtedly become dependent on their seed suppliers.
Climate events that we are currently facing oblige us to think about alternatives to creating conditions for sustainable food security in Africa. It is in this spirit that the AfricaAdapt network invites you to share your reflections, over the next two weeks, on two key questions:
1. What strategies should be adopted to ensure the availability and a sustainable use of local seeds in the face of climate change and variability?
2. Are GM seeds in Africa an opportunity to combat the effects of climate change, or a threat to producers and Africa’s economy?
Please support your views with case studies on the use of local or GM seeds by communities in Africa.
We look forward to hearing from you.